Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Mergers & Acquisitions

***Warning, this is a fairly picture heavy post***

At the weekend I went to see my mum, and stopped at the John Lewis at Bristol on the way, so I could have a smoosh of some yarn and have a quick look at buttons/fabrics/bag handles/various accessory things that are critical to the success of my projects *grins*

I was a bit disappointed, the yarn selection was extremely focused on Rowan and Debbie Bliss, with almost nothing else. Not much fun. But, I did pick up a few useful bits...

Buttons for my green top and and this pretty fabric to use as lining for my cable band bag:

So not a total waste of time ;)

On Saturday, mum took me to the local garden centre, telling me that they have expanded their yarn selection. Last time we'd been was before I knitted, so I couldn't even remember a yarn selection! 

At this point, I should tell you that my mum is a terrible (or wonderful?!) enabler *laughs* She knows pretty yarns make me happy, so she encourages the purchase of said yarns. This is obviously not a problem ;) 

Mum was looking at patterns to see if she wanted to make something, which meant we were there for a dangerously long time which, in conjunction with the widened selection of yarn, resulted in a few purchases...

A giant ball of green aran weight, similar to the purpley-blue I used for my hooded cardigan. I'm planning for this to be another cardigan (it's an acrylic heavy blend, so not a skin touching yarn, but perfect for cardigans):

Bright red sock yarn, because who doesn't need bright red socks?! (It is pillar box red, rather than the orangey colour of the picture - but the light yesterday was terrible for photos):

A ball of King Cole Riot, mainly because I like the colours. No specific plans for this as yet:

And finally, 5 balls of 100% Alpaca. It's so soft, and squishy, and the very lovely lady in the shop gave me 10% off them because she wanted to get rid *grins* I'm thinking a tank top of some description. I'm particularly amused by the name Cusco (for anyone not a bit of a kid's film lover, it is the same name as the Emperor that gets turned into a Llama in The Emperor's New Groove):

So, that was Saturday, but the acquisitions don't quite end there ;)

On Sunday  I went to my special beach. As well as my awesome skills in the arcade (I won 3 cuddly toys on the grabber machines!), I also demonstrated some excellent shopping skills. I bought this tin, to use as a button tin. Because everyone needs a button tin, right?! I also found some pretty buttons in a charity shop, so they had to come home with us too:

Which does finally finish the "acquisitions" part of this post. Moving on to the "mergers" section...

The new yarn needed to be merged into my existing stash, which had already been bolstered therefore no longer even remotely fitted into the plastic box I'd been using to store it (well, it didn't even fully fit in the box before the extras, there was also a small satellite stash that was hiding!)

This is what I have now...

Everything fits; the new, the old and the satellite. All merged neatly together. In fact, I have a little extra space now, so the top left drawer is actually housing my WIPs, making my craft area even tidier *grins*

And to think I didn't believe the people who commented on my Blog Week post about my yarn box, who said that one small box was only the beginning *laughs* Looks like they were right ;)

So, that was my weekend, hope everyone else had a good one.

Monday, 30 May 2011

D is for Doodling

I doodle.

A lot.

I do worry that it makes me look unfocused, especially when I do it in meetings. According to a study, however, doodling helps to maintain concentration. I have to say, this is definitely true for me. If I'm in a boring meeting, doodling actually keeps me paying attention. If I don't do it, my thoughts start to drift and I end up miles away. Doodling means that my brain is focused, but only on something simple, so I can still pay attention to what is being said.

I quite enjoy it. You can see that most of them follow similar shapes or themes, although I do occasionally break out different coloured biros for a bit of variety ;)

I still worry it makes me look unfocused though ;)

Friday, 27 May 2011

Dinner for Wolf*

I don't have a knitting FO for today (I'm really not that fast!) but I do have a finished object...

I followed this tutorial, and made a little bag *grins*

Seriously, how cute is that fabric?! I found it on ebay and just had to buy it ;) Little shepherds and sheep - perfect for any kind of knitting accessory. I have some left over, so I'm thinking of making a DPN case or something to match.

As you can see, the bag is a little wonky - my final stitching wasn't as straight or evenly matched as it could have been. But, this is the very first time I have ever managed to put a zip into anything, and that bit looks really neat, so I'm pretty dammed pleased with myself *proud smile*

Look, it even has a cool lining:

I'm really pleased with this little bag (can you tell?), and I love it very much. Having said that, as well as the wonkiness issue, there is also the factor that it is quite a bit smaller than I intended. Hmmm. It was supposed to be a sock project bag, but alas it will not fit a ball of sock yarn :( My seams may have been a little (ok, a lot) more generous than they needed to be!

No matter, it will make an excellent replacement to my current, boring, notions bag. In fact, it already contains some of the goodies from yesterday's post ;)

Friday is a pretty active day in blog land, so I encourage you to check out some of these links, for more lovely crafting:

Tami's Finished Object Friday
Andrea's Fiber Arts Friday

* "Careless shepherd make excellent dinner for wolf" - Earl Derr Biggers... Luckily the shepherds on this bag look pretty attentive to their flocks ;)

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Goodies :)

Yesterday was a day of knitting related goodness *grins*

Recently I signed up for my very first Ravelry swap, on the Blog Hub group. The aim of the swap was to send a ball of stash yarn to someone else (assigned by the lovely swap organiser The Underground Crafter). The parcel I sent doesn't seem to have arrived with its recipient yet, so I won't post any details of that... But, my parcel did arrive, all the way from Illinois!

Sara, from The Knitting Way, sent me this:

This was such a fantastic parcel to open, and Sara picked just the right colours for me *grins* Now I have to decide what to make, which will be the subject of future blog posts. I'm excited to start looking at patterns...

That's not where the knitting goodies ended yesterday either... A friend passed on some yarn their mum no longer uses...

I am now the owner of 6 balls of this:

Studley Pastiche. It's almost impossible to get a good picture of this, but trust me when I say the colours are beautiful. Blues and purples and greens and ochre... Much deeper and darker than the picture above, which is very washed out *frowns* It's an acrylic/mohair mix, that's very soft, with some sparkly looking stuff in there (technical I know, but there's very little info about this online!) I'm thinking some sort of wrap will show this off.

I also have 12 balls of this:

Jaeger Monte Cristo DK, in a lovely navy blue. It's a cotton/acrylic mix, which feels so much softer than pure cotton. And it's Jaeger, very posh ;) I'm thinking that a pattern from my Breeze book, as they're all cotton based, so I need to get thinking as I have 1200m of it.

I also got a stash of vintage knitting patterns, very 80s so I don't know that I'll knit any as written, but really fun to look through (I'll take some pictures at some point). Plus a book of cross stitch lettering, and she didn't even know I'd taken up cross stitch *grins* Genius ;)

And, finally, a great bundle of knitting needles, in loads of sizes I didn't already have and some useful things:

A needle sizer and some stitch holders.

Overall, a damn good day for a knitter. All I need now is a bigger stash box ;)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday Number 3

This is going to become a weekly thing for me I think, as evidenced by me knitting last night, thinking "I need to make more progress on this, so my WIPW post isn't the same as last week!"

So, progress update...

The mermaid scarf is still in a time out on the naughty step. I'm not quite ready to forgive, forget and frog yet *laughs* So, nothing to update there.

Obviously the happy sock from last Wednesday made an appearance on Finished Object Friday, as a completed pair (and thank you to everyone who commented on them, I was so excited!)

Next project from last week was my green cotton top (it really needs a name, I think). More progress has been made, I've now divided for the front opening and done a few more rows beyond that.

This is definitely not mindless knitting. Currently I'm having to remember 4 pattern parts, with a fifth soon to follow. There's the main centre pattern, the slightly different 7 stitch pattern for the button band, then placing the button holes at "every alt 7th row" plus the waist shaping. Then armhole shaping kicks in... I definitely need to pay attention to what I'm doing with this one! And to think it looked like such a simple pattern *laughs*

So that's the projects from last week caught up on. Of course, I do have more to share (well with mermaid in time out, I'm essentially only working on one thing, and that just won't do!)

I started making the cabled band bag from this post, using my Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. I've done 5 of the 7 cable repeats so far. Once they're done, the ends get grafted together in a loop, then the rest of the bag is picked up and knit in the round. Interesting and enjoyable construction.

I'm really enjoying working with this wool. It's certainly more rustic than I'm used to, which I worried would translate as scratchy (hence choosing to go with the bag rather than something to wear against my skin). I can feel a difference knitting with it, obviously, but it's soft enough to enjoy working with. Plus, the stitches stay on the cable needle with no problems at all, which makes a nice change from the more slippery yarns I'm used to *wry smile*

Anyway, here's a close up of the cables. The wool really does show them off nicely, as Ravelry reviews suggested, and I'm loving the way they're looking with C12F and C12B combined (especially as it's only my second time doing any sort of cable!)

Well, that's me for this week's WIPW; as usual, to see what other bloggers have been up to, go here to Tami's blog :)

One quick thing, thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday, it was really nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels that way! We should all give ourselves more credit.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


I had planned for this to be my "C is...." post, but then I made lots of mess and thought that would be more fun to post yesterday. So I figured, no need to waste these ramblings, I'll just pop it up today ;)

Creativity. I never used to think of myself as being a creative person. For some reason, I know not why, I always had a very rigid definition in my head of what creativity was. That it was art (in a painting/drawing kind of way) or graphic design or something like that.

As I can't draw, and I don't do graphic design, I never thought of myself as at all creative. It wasn't until a friend said something about how creative I was that I even thought twice about it. She pointed out that I made cards (at the time my only real crafting) and put all the different elements together to make them look beautiful. I started to reconsider my original preconceptions. She also pointed out that I write, something else I didn't look at as a creative endeavour, despite creating characters, stories, entire worlds...

When I took up knitting, I began thinking more about it again. By "creating" something from raw materials, there has to be an element of creativity, purely from a semantic perspective if nothing else, right? And pattern modifications, yarn choices, embellishment choices (buttons, finishing etc), well they all add up to having made something uniquely your own.

I have very high standards of myself. I posted yesterday about various things I made. The bracelets for example, I put those together, chose the colours, picked out which sizes of beads to put together to make it look the way I wanted. Yet I initially dismissed what I did as not creative, because it's just stringing some beads... But if someone else had made it, I would have been really impressed with how they'd put it together, and certainly would have considered them creative.

So I looked again, decided that I love what I made, the colours work and the shapes and sizes fit together exactly as I wanted them to. I created something, from some raw materials, no pattern, no instructions, just doing what felt right to me. It worked and I made something I love.

Honestly, I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this, it's all a bit stream of consciousness really!

Essentially, I think I should accept that I am creative, in my way, and that's awesome. I should also give myself the credit I give other people ;)

Monday, 23 May 2011

C Is For.... Chaos!

Crafting chaos to be exact *laughs*

This was my coffee table earlier today. In fact, this is only part of the choas that overtook the table, but the mess was too much to show off ;)

As you can see, there was some knitting progress, but I'll give an update on that on Wednesday.Today, I thought I'd share a few other crafts I have recently started playing with (and by recently, I mean this weekend!)

I bought a jewellery making kit on ebay last week, during my mad ebay splurge, mainly because I wanted to make my own stitch markers... and here they are:

They're just very simple, but I really like them *smiles* In fact, I am now using 2 of them on my green top, replacing the very boring ones I did have ;)

But of course I couldn't just make a few stitch markers when I had a whole kit of stuff, especially due to the number of random beads and things I seem to have acquired over the years. So I made a bracelet

I also made some matching earrings, but they didn't photograph well, so no picture.

Then I made another bracelet, this time with evidence (albeit upside down evidence) of the matching earrings ;)

But that's not all folks... Oh no, more crafts were contributing to the chaos...

Of course, I was then on a roll... Inspired by some of the beautiful designs of Mooncalf, I cross stitched a very simple heart, paired it with some heart fabric I got free in a magazine, plus a stripy accent fabric, and made myself this pin cushion:

I have to say, I really love this. My sewing skills are improving, and the lines now almost match up ;)

So, knitting, sewing, beading and cross stitch... I'd say it was a fairly crafty weekend ;)

For more "C is for" posts, head on over to The Accidental Knitter's blog and check out the links.

Friday, 20 May 2011


I made socks!!!

Yep, plural, for the second sock was finished last night *big grin* In time for me to join in with Tami's Finished Object Friday party as well ;)

I quite like this sneak peak photo ;)

I'm really pleased with my socks, if you couldn't already tell *laughs* The second was obviously easier than the first, and I managed to graft the toe properly, without it looking all raggedy... See:

I love that the socks don't match perfectly - I mean they're the same, but the stripes are different across each foot. I know this would drive some people utterly mad, but I've never been a fan of symmetry so it works even better for me:

Look at those colours *grins* Eye-burningly awesome ;)

Here's an obligatory "on the feet" shot, even though it's kinda tough taking photos of your own feet. Boyfriend tried to help but the light was all wrong, too much sun (and there's a sentence I don't often say!)

I'm not actually wearing the socks right now (though I wish I was) because I plan to soak them in wool wash first, I've heard that it really softens them up. So, for now, I am being very patient. Not like me at all ;)

My only challenge now is to make progress on my other WIPs, rather than going and immediately casting on a new pair!!!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

I Won Something!

This is fairly rare for me, so please forgive any overexcitement ;) The last thing I won was when I was a kid and although it was a damn good prize (a computer), it was arguably my mum who won it but put my name on the entry form *smiles fondly*

So, I won something, and even better, it's yarn! A skein of Brookly Tweed Shelter, to be precise. Thanks to a great giveaway on Mighty Distractible, from the very lovely Alex and Cassandra (who found it funny that they were posting 100% American wool to a country with as much wool as the UK... I see their point!)

It is absolutely lovely (and, in what will sound weird to most people but I figure knitters will get it, it smells really good!). It's springy and soft, but also rustic and sheepy-feeling, if that makes any sense at all!

Boyfriend was a little taken aback by the texture when I handed it to him, but then he's used to me handing him silk blends to smoosh. Once I explained that it's a very different type of wool, with its own style and benefits, he got it ;) He did look at me strangely when I told him to smell it though!

In my parcel was a lovely card, and a bonus gift of this cool postcard (from Chicago I believe) *laughs*

So now I have to decide what to make with the yarn... Tough choice. From reviews I've read, people recommend something with cables, as apparently the yarn really makes them pop. I don't wear hats often, and I don't want to waste the yarn on something I won't be able to show off much, so I came up with a couple of other options...

I'm torn between these mitts:

© MissBecca

And this bag, that is really pretty and I think would work well (especially when lined with something to bring out the colour of the yarn)

© Jennifer Jones

I'm itching to cast this on, and I think I'm leaning towards the bag, but first I need to make better progress on my current WIPs.... But knowing me, this may end up on the needles sooner than planned ;)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

WIP Wednesday

I really enjoyed participating in my last Work In Progress Wednesday, so I thought it would be a good plan to continue :)

My mermaid scarf has stalled dramatically *sigh* I made a mistake about 6 or 7 rows back and it has completely thrown off the pattern. Unfortunately, this pattern is also really hard to frog, especially with such slippery yarn as pure silk, so this is waiting for me to take the time (and have the patience!) to do it properly.

Here's where I am so far, about twice as long as it was last time... (I didn't take the time to get a good picture as I'm sulking with it at the moment *wry smle*)

My cotton top is making (slow) progress. I haven't given it the attention it needs, so it doesn't look like I've got much further than the last picture I posted of it. I have though. Honest ;) I've done two of the rib sections in the centre panel since then.

I'm using stitch markers to keep track of where the central ribs start, which isn't mentioned at all in the pattern but it seemed like it would be easier than having to count each time!

And finally, the reason nothing else has had much of my attention...

My second sock! I can't wait for this to be finished so that I will have my pair and can start wearing them immediately *laughs* In fact, it's a struggle not to put the other one on my foot by itself, but I'm being very restrained! I am taking it a bit easier on this sock, I made the last one so quickly that I had a sore wrist for about 4 days afterwards, so I'm pacing myself a bit more this time ;)

Anyway, that's where my current projects are; to see more WIPW posts, head over to Tami's blog :)

And stay tuned tomorrow, for I have exciting new yarn to share ;)

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Sock It To Me

Ok, so even though I haven't quite finished my second sock (I've finished the gusset, so just the foot and toe to do...) I have become somewhat addicted *laughs* I should have guessed this would happen.

Being that I don't really do things by halves, I thought I ought to dive in and get myself some more sock yarn pronto. Thanks to very fortuitous delivery timings, my parcel arrived last night at exactly the right moment to cheer me up after a trip to the dentist ;)

Zauberball *grins* I love the name, I love the colours and I love that the ball looks so much more fun than a lot of ready-balled yarns.

Of course, when I was adding it to my stash page on Ravelry, I discovered that I do already have another ball of sock yarn that I'd totally forgotten about:

Hmmmm, bit of an orange theme going on. How surprising *chuckles* I shall have to have happy orange feet. Now, I feel like I should perhaps not buy any more sock yarn until Knit Nation in July... But really, given I have this new obsession, how likely do you think that is?!

Monday, 16 May 2011

B is for....

Last week I was so excited to post my very first sock on Monday that I completely forgot I was planning to participate in the ABC challenge, with a post every Monday through the alphabet. So, here I am this week, sorry for being late to the party everyone, but I brought snacks ;)

B is for.... I was going to do "blogging", but I noticed that a couple of other people have done that and I don't really have a lot to say that hasn't already been covered ;)

So, what should my "B" be for?


I love bags. I am a handbag fiend *cheeky grin* In fact, I was just trying to remember how many I have:

  • Black Radley work bag 
  • Black Radley handbag
  • Brown Radley bag
  • Taupe Radley (sensing a brand theme here?! *laughs*)
  • Red bowling bag
  • Teal bowling bag
  • Greenish shoulder bag
  • Little white bag with a strawberry on
  • Little blue canvas shoulder bag
  • Marvin the Martian messenger bag
  • Leather A4 sized rust coloured bag with circles on
  • Cream, black and gold clutch
  • Tiny black evening bag
  • Large pink fake Mulberry style
  • Blue patterned overnight bag

So, I have a fair few bags, and I'm sure I've forgotten a few! (what can I say, I like to coordinate with my outfit ;) )

But, and this is a big but... I don't have a knitting bag.

I have a little make-up bag that carries my DPNs, darning needle, stitch markers, scissors etc, but no project bags. I just haven't found the right one yet. I'm not a huge fan of tote bags, and I don't know what else to look for. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them!

I think the problem is that I haven't found a knitting bag that I would use regardless of whether it had my knitting in or not, and that's kinda what I want. Maybe what I'm looking for is a handbag big enough to also have a (small) knitting project in... 

To avoid a pictureless post (because I don't like posting without any pictures), this is what my Marvin the Martian bag looks like... It would be great if it actually had some compartments, but it takes forever to find anything in...

Friday, 13 May 2011


Ah, finally, blogger is working again. I wanted to post something and have been refreshing the page all day just to get on here. Now that I have, I feel like my post should really be much better than it is, but hey ;)

So, after a hectic week with no knitting at all *shock* I did a few rows of my cotton top last night. I've finished the horizontal rib section at the bottom and have moved onto needles that are 0.5mm larger for the next piece. So much better! The 2.25mm were really killing my poor fingers.

Progress is not looking like much since the last time I posted a picture, but here it is anyway...

I'm pleased with the fact that I now have a better idea of how the fabric is going to come out, it's a lot softer and drapier (is that a word?!) than it started off. In fact, the yarn in the ball feels really hard and not nice at all, so it's a relief to know it won't be like that against my skin!

So, why is this post titled "genius!"...?

Well, remember the cookbook stand I bought over Easter *pauses for nods* I have repurposed it to hold my knitting book:

I am a very tidy person when it comes to books, I never crack the spines or fold down corners. This book kept insisting on closing itself while it was propped up on my sofa next to me, making it a lot harder to keep track of where I was. This stand now means it is upright in front of me, kept neat and tidy and always on the right page *grins*

Ok, so if this is what I consider genius, and I am actually quite chuffed with it, I may need to get out a bit more *laughs* Until then, I shall knit away with my new pattern holding apparatus ;)

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Thanks to a lot of work related stuff taking over at the moment, I have no craft news to post about :(

I haven't managed to get any knitting done since Sunday, which feels a little strange actually. Having said that, my frantic sock finishing during the whole of the day did leave my wrist feeling somewhat tender, so a break is probably a very good thing *grudging smile*

Part of the work stuff I've been focused on this week included a big meeting yesterday. I wore my hooded cardigan and got a lot of impressed noises when I told people I'd made it myself. I did have to bask in the glow a little, especially when I pointed out the short amount of time I've been knitting *tries to rein in the smug pridefulness, lest I get kicked in the butt by my next project!*

Anyway, I hope to have interesting, inspiring or at the very least, colourful posts soon... Honest ;)

Monday, 9 May 2011

Wonderous Sock of Joy!

I made a sock!!!

I've been meaning to knit socks for ages and have kept chickening out ;) I was a little daunted at first, but following the excellent Silver's Sock Class, I got through it... One stitch at a time.

I decided to knit the ribbing flat, and then join to knit in the round, mainly because I hated doing ribbing on DPNs when I made my mitts. I figured if I skipped that part, then I'd actually get on and do it.

The reason I started on Friday was because my current WIPs require me to pay some attention, so I figured something that was just knit stitches (well, until the heel) would be an excellent mindless project for in front of the TV... Of course, I got hooked and ended up spending Saturday evening and most of Sunday finishing it *laughs*

It's wonky, with some fairly crappy patches, and the first two stitches of my grafted toe look pretty rough, but I made it and I love it *huge, proud grin*

Hey look, it fits!

Now I just need to make another one... ;)